Vacationista by Tara Simone:
A broken heart. A ticket to paradise. A resort full of honeymooners ... the last thing newly single Patience De La Rosa needs if she's to find a candidate for a casual rebound. Her luggage catching a flight to Mauritius instead of Maui doesn't help matters and a maxed out credit card doesn't buy a girl a fresh pair of panties.
Then there's the annoying weird guy, the one who's married to his laptop, sitting beside her at the pool. Odds for a fling improve when three single, sexy and willing candidates cross her path. Though Patience's luggage may be M.I.A., her breakup baggage crossed the Pacific with her.
Will Patience cast it aside, throw caution to the tropical winds and indulge in island debauchery?
Or will a tea leaf reader's prediction about her romantic excursions come true in unexpected ways?
Wanna know a little bit about Tara Simone? We were lucky enough to get an interview!
1. What inspired you to write Vacationista?
A few years back, married friends invited me to join them at a swanky 5-star Maui resort. I was excited to go but upon arrival it was quite apparent that it was a couples place. I don’t usually feel uncomfortable when traveling alone but in that setting I did. I wanted the lead character, Patience, to be particularly uncomfortable on her post-breakup getaway. Setting it at a couples resort would really impede her ability to move on and hence, it leads to many comic moments.
2. Do you snack while you write? If so, what is your favorite?
Were you spying on me? I write entirely in restaurants, coffee shops and hotel rooms (with room service). A hotel is where I plot a new book, when I return home I write every day in a restaurant. I love being surrounded by the energy of the staff and patrons, yet I’m able to tune them out and focus. There is always coffee and finger foods, preferably something not greasy as it messes up the laptop. Vacationista was plotted in a San Diego Sheraton, started at The View Hotel in Monument Valley, Arizona and then completed in coffee shops near my home.
3. Who is your favorite book boyfriend?
Hah! I don’t have a book boyfriend. I am still dating in my real life, so my focus is on potential real boyfriends and it would be unfair to compare them to fictional men. Besides the real alpha males I come across are more than enough to grab my attention.
4. Where is your favorite place to vacation?
I travel a lot and there are two places that are a guaranteed good time - Las Vegas and Disneyland/World. You may think they are very different, but they both deliver the same emotional punch - the thrill of sensory overload in a fairytale land. In Disneyland I recommend the Grand California Hotel and in Vegas the Monte Carlo for its rooms, service and overall convenience, but the Bellagio for its pools and spa.
5. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
In the book, Patience works at a high end shoe salon Sole Mates; her mentor is Gina, a couture shoe buyer. There is a real-life Gina and I’m lucky to know her. Just like in Vacationista, the real Gina flies to Italy and Paris every two months to looks at the new shoes from all the designers. I think it would be fun to travel with the real Gina on one of her buying excursions to Italy.
6. Who is your favorite actor?
I just returned from the most relaxing dude ranch vacation at the White Stallion Ranch in Arizona. I have a thing for smart, handsome, no-need to impress type men who know how to ride a horse. The actor Viggo Mortenson fits that bill. If you would you like to see Viggo in an excellent Western, rent Appaloosa which is based on a Robert Parker novel.
7. When you travel what is the one item you never leave home without?
In Vactionista, Patience’s travel companion is her new pair of Chanel espadrilles. That bit may have been inspired by my own pair of Chanels, which accompanied me everywhere this summer from Savannah to Tokyo to Vegas - they are comfy, go with casual or dressy outfits and are easy to slip off and on at airport security. They did not come to the dude ranch - a true Vacationista packs practically.
8. Do you prefer cookies or chips?
Whichever one is served with a martini. But seriously, American Airlines First Class is known for serving freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Of course you have to be sitting in First Class, which will be addressed in the next book in the Sole Mate series, currently titled Leg Room. Yes, First Class does have more leg room, but sometimes you might be willing to give it up if you fly coach with someone special. This will be Melody’s story.
9. What advice would you give someone that wants to write?
Two things - buy Stephen King’s Book “On Writing” and then write every day. I am a big believer in plotting before beginning. It’s like a road trip, you can jump in the car, drive without a map and you’ll eventually reach where your destination but it might take you a very long time. It’s much easier if you’ve mapped out where you are going before you hit the road.
10. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
I would hack into American Airlines Advantage Miles program and fill my account with a zillion miles which I would then use to treat some lucky readers of Vacationista to an incredible vacation - First Class of course, so they could enjoy the warm chocolate chip cookies…and a martini.
Thanks Tara for stopping by today! Can't wait to read your next release!
"Vacationista is a sparkling romantic-comedy gem with one of the wittiest heroines I have read in ages! Full of zingy one-liners, clever quips and some of the best dialogue ever!" -NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author Lauren Blakely
Excerpt from Vacationista by Tara Simone
The hotel phone rings and shakes me from my rage. Please let it be good news. Please let my luggage be here. I am so sick of wearing this peach tank top, what I wouldn’t do for a basic cotton tee. I cannot believe this shirt was ever my favorite. I answer the phone. “Hello?” “I need help,” a voice mumbles. “Who is this?” “The albino guy with the sunburn.” “It’s six o’clock in the morning.
How did you know I was awake?” “I didn’t. I need help.” Huey’s room is actually one of twelve cottages that sit on a small cliff beyond the pool area looking out over the ocean. I use the term cottage loosely. Each one looks to be twice the size of the cottage I shared with Dan in Encanto. Floor to ceiling walls of privacy glass provide an unobstructed view of the ocean. Under a faux thatched roof is a private lanai with hammocks and patio furniture straight from the pages of a design magazine.
The door to his unit is unlocked just as he said it would be. If the outside was impressive, the inside is jaw dropping amazing. This is ridiculous. The furniture is several notches above what was in Ted’s room. Really fluffy, deep cushioned cream colored sofas and chairs that I just want to jump onto and crawl up in. “Huey?” I call out. “I’m here.” His voice calls out from another area of the house. “I’m in the bathtub.” Hmmm. Generally if a man calls me to the bathtub I know what to expect.
But this is Huey, and even though he is calling me to the bathtub, I don’t expect him to have any ulterior motives. Because it’s Huey. He’s not manipulative. I walk past the living room and through the sliding pocket doors that lead to the bedroom. To my left, a door is half open. I approach it carefully and stand just outside it without looking in. “What can I do to help?” “Come in.” “If you’re in the tub, I’d rather not.” “Have you never seen a man naked?
Or are you just afraid you’ll be so overwhelmed by my sex god physique that you will jump me.” “The latter.” “I thought so. That is why everything provocative is covered. You will be safe in my presence.” I take him at his word and poke my head around the door. The tub is huge. HUGE. It’s one of those Jacuzzi tubs built for two. Huey is in it. His man parts are indeed covered from view by lots of bubbles and a tray that stretches across the width of the tub, on which sits his laptop. This is not surprising to me. What is surprising to me is that he is submerged in water and bubbles the color of dirt.
“Why is the water brown?” “It’s tea.” He fishes around in the water and holds up three tea bags. “There are a hundred tea bags in here.” “Why?” “Because Google said so.” “For the burn?” “Yes.” “Where’d you get the tea bags?” “Room service.” “So you called me because what? You need cream and sugar?” “If I wasn’t in so much pain I’d laugh at your witty observation. But not right now.” “Fair enough. How can I help?” “I can’t type. My arms hurt too much to type any longer. And I have to get this done. I need you to type for me.” “I’m not getting in the tub.” “I wasn’t asking you to. Though now that you mentioned it, that could be interesting, the tub is built for two.” “Is it? I hadn’t noticed.”
“Best you not get in, you won’t be able to keep your hands off me. You can sit there and type.” He points to an area of the bathroom out of my view. I step further inside the bathroom. There are two white chaises, just as fluffy as the sofa in the living room. “There is a living room in your bathroom,” I say. “I can’t fit a towel rack in my bathroom. And you have chaises in your bathroom.” “Technically, it’s not my bathroom. And if you help me I will buy you a towel rack that fits in your bathroom.” “Okay, Huey, I’ll type for you under two conditions.” “And they are?” “One, I get to order breakfast.”
“For someone so thin, you do eat a lot. The room service menu is on the desk in the bedroom.” “And two, I’m out of here at ten to sit by the pool.” “Do you realize you continue to put yourself in grave danger?” “Of what?” “M-E-L-A-N-O-M-A” “Wow. You can spell big words. Impressive.” “I mean it. Why do you worship the sun? Don’t you know it’s bad for you?” “I’m twenty-six. I am allowed a vice or two. You’re like thirty-two going on sixty. Would you relax a little?”
“I did relax. With you. In the pool. And look what happened.” “Okay, if you’re trying to make me feel guilty −,” “I am.” “It’s working. I’m going to go order breakfast, want anything?” “Orange juice.” “Really or are you being facetious?” “Orange juice and the buckwheat pancakes with chocolate chips and maple syrup, please.” I don’t know why he makes me chuckle but he does. He’s so formal and offbeat at the same time. I’m fairly certain he would have been the kid in my high school who had been tormented by the cool crowd.
If I had known him then, I probably would have dismissed him, just as I did the first day at the pool. But in his own odd way, he’s kind of cool and fun and funny. “Hello,” I say into the room phone, “I’d like to place an order please.” “Yes, Mrs. Anders, what can we get you?” Why does everyone here think I'm married? Oh, right, because everyone here except me is part of a couple. I hate this place.